Sounds of the Season

Last week, I asked my husband Scott to write a paragraph for my blog about the worst Christmas songs. Well, this is what I got back this week, literally the moment I saved the blog I wrote for today. His put mine to shame, so ladies and gents, you've read them, you love them-without any further ado, a Scott McCarron rant for the season:

It's rare that I find common ground with the Christian right, but I think they have a point when it comes to the dilution of Christmas.  This is particularly evident in the music we're bombarded with this time of year. 

It's ironic, as there's plenty of Christmas music out there.  Unfortunately you hear increasingly little of it in favor of "seasonal favorites"; songs which run the gamut from making passing references to Christmas to having no affiliation whatsoever. 

You're simply having a wonderful Christmas time?  I'm happy for you.  Is Christmas central to your enjoyment or just a coincidence? 

Last Christmas you gave me your heart?  Terrific!  Did we consummate the arrangement and take part in some of that sin that the Christian savior died for? 

But at least those songs mention Christmas.  It's remarkable how many songs in heavy rotation this time of year have nothing to do with the Christmas holiday.   

Silver bells ring-a-ling because it's Christmas time in the city.  But jingle bells?  They ring because… they're bells.  Some may associate them with Christmas,  I happen to associate sugar cookies.  Where's the song about those?  "Jingle Bell Rock" has the same problem, plus it utterly fails to rock.  For those about to jingle bell rock, I don't salute you. 

If you grew up on the "Frosty the Snowman" cartoon like I did, you might not have noticed that the song has nothing to do with Christmas whatsoever.  There's no mention of holidays, Santa, anything.  It's a song about an implausibly anthropomorphic ice sculpture and a magic hat!  Brilliant!  Please subject me to this ditty four times a day in the month of December. 

There's an entire genre of songs about winter weather.  Songs I've heard on so called holiday music channels include, but are not limited to:

"Let it Snow"

"Winter Wonderland"

"Sleigh Ride"

"I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm"

"Little Jack Frost Get Lost"

"A Marshmallow World" 

Here's the irony.  Suppose these songs enter into the rotation on December 1, a conservative estimate at best.  There are a whopping five actual winter days between then and Christmas.  Perhaps we should listen to these songs in January.  It's a true winter month and marked by Chicago's heaviest average snowfall. 

Or maybe they should be played in the month leading up to Valentine's Day.  A lot of these seem to be about using the cold weather as an excuse for nuzzling up with someone.  I think we have the movie Elf to blame for "Baby, It's Cold Outside" making its way into the "holiday" mix.  This song is about trying to get in someone's pants!  More sin, woo! 

What would these stations play if we were in the southern hemisphere?  A steady diet of "Surfing Safari", "Wipe Out", and "Summer in the City"? 

Some seasonal selections are even more inexplicable.  On what basis did "My Favorite Things" make it into the mix?  Brown paper packages tied up with strings?  If those are Christmas presents, that's a decidedly unfestive way to wrap them. 

But my least favorite, non-holiday selection has to be "The Twelve Days of Christmas."  You may be thinking, wait, of course it's a Christmas song.  It has "Christmas" in the title and twelve references throughout the song. 

But listen closely and you'll see that it's only about Christmas in some bizarre alternate universe.  A twelve day affair marked by avian and human trafficking.  WTF?  This song isn't just lyrically bad by holiday standards.  We're talking "MacArthur Park" territory, in the conversation for worst lyrics in any song ever.  Not only are the lyrics terrible, they're repeated more than most songs.  Twelve partridges in pear tree references.  Eight passes through the five gold(en) rings.  Adding to the monotony, there must be hundreds of versions of this atrocity.  How did this happen? 

Hark, what was all this signing supposed to be about anyway?  O come, let us adore some real, traditional Christmas songs.  Or not.  If they don't bring joy to your world, turn them off or tune them out.  But stop teetering on this middle ground.  Try to please everyone and you please no one.  Ay mama!

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  • Oh, Scott! I will never listen to 12 Days of Christmas again without laughing to the point of tears in my eyes.

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